A round with… Simon Robinson

Challenge Tour winner turned PGA professional Simon Robinson shares stories from his career, including his favourite events and his dream fourball

Simon Robinson’s career in golf has taken him around the world. From growing up at Seaton Carew – where his grandparents were the stewards – to representing England, winning the World and European Boys’ titles, and playing for the University of Houston, his amateur record was stellar.
He then turned pro and won three times on the EuroPro Tour in 2005, moving up to the Challenge Tour and winning the SK Golf Challenge in Finland in 2008. While he didn’t cement a place on the European Tour, he continued to compete around the world before joining the PGA in 2011. Since then, he has won regularly on the NE/NW PGA circuit – including three times in 2022, while coaching at Close House and working with the Steve McClaren Golf Academy. Here’s more from our round…

1 How much golf do you get to play?
I think I play a lot for a PGA pro and it’s something I still prioritise. Practising on the range and in my studio at home, while playing a lot of events on the NE/NW PGA circuit, is a great balance between playing and coaching for me.

2 How did you get into golf?
When I was six, my grandparents became stewards at Seaton Carew and I spent a lot of time at the golf club. I’d play and practise a lot and stopped playing other sports when I was 11. I then won the England U14s title and progressed through England teams, went to college in the US, and turned pro in 2004.

3 Which is your favourite course in the North East?
Seaton Carew is very close to my heart as I’ve played so much golf there. Further inland, I really enjoy the Colt Course at Close House and the Hunting Course at Slaley Hall.

4 And further afield?
Turnberry is very special and we’ve been lucky enough to visit it for multiple NE/NW PGA pro ams in recent years.

5 What’s your best score?
I shot nine under-par on the final day of a EuroPro Tour event to finish second after making the cut on the number. I also made nine birdies in the final round to win the Challenge Tour’s SK Golf Challenge in Finland in 2008 – shooting 63 to win by six.

6 Which is your favourite golfing memory?
Winning on the Challenge Tour was a huge individual achievement, but the most fun was winning as a team. Winning the World and European Boys with England – the first time we’d ever done both – when I was 18 was incredible.

7 What about your most embarrassing moments on the course?
When I was 14, at the Golf Foundation Weetabix Championship, I opened with a 68 to lead by miles. I then shot 81 to end up in a playoff. On the first tee with loads of people watching, a wasp flew into my shirt and started stinging me repeatedly. I whipped my shirt off, ran round the tee, and then looked up to see all these people just staring at me like I’d lost my mind.

8 Do you have any golfing superstitions?
In a competitive round, I’d never use a ball with a number three on it.

9 What are your strengths on the course?
It used to be my short game when I practised a lot, but as I’ve got older it’s moved to my ball striking.

10 And your weaknesses?
I’ve had lots of ups and downs with putting over the years, though the long putter seems to be working at the minute.

11 Which is your favourite club in the bag?
The new Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond driver is awesome.

12 Who is your best golfing friend?
Growing up at Seaton Carew, I played a lot of golf with Jonathan Neill. He was my best man and we still enjoy getting out together.

13 What would you be doing if you hadn’t had a career in golf?
I studied sociology at the University of Houston, then a PGCE to become a primary school teacher, so I’d probably have stuck with that if golf hadn’t worked out.

14 Who is your favourite golfer?
Seve Ballesteros was my inspiration growing up and then Nick Faldo as I got older.

15 Which golf event do you enjoy most?
The Masters signals the start of the year and is must-watch TV. The NE/NW PGA pro ams further afield are a big highlight of the year too and I’m looking forward to playing Carnoustie later this season.

16 Who do you admire?
Growing up, Nick Faldo’s work ethic was really inspiring. I also read Lance Armstrong’s book when I was younger and that book, along with what he achieved, inspired me a lot. While it later all broke down, reading that still inspired me a great deal.

17 Which three people would join you in your dream fourball?
Jonathan Neill, my son Stefan, and Seve would be a great game.

18 If you could have one mulligan, when would you have used it?
One of the few regrets from my playing career was not winning the English Amateur. I got beat in the final by Scott Godfrey and while I may have needed a few mulligans to beat Scott, I’d like to have got that win.